I believe that we have a crisis in the church today. That we are serving a God we do not know.
In September of 1985, there was a celebration held at a New Orleans municipal pool. The party was being held in order to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at the pool.
In honor of the occasion, two hundred Municipal leaders gathered for the occasion. Along with these leaders were over one hundred certified lifeguards. As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. While others watched around the edge of the pools, the 4 lifeguards tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31.
But, it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by over 100 lifeguards who were celebrating their successful season of guard.
There are people in the church who are dying because the church is populated with 'Almost Christianity'. We have been celebrating while people around us are lost. We need an awakening as Christians and we need the message of Salvation to ring in the house of God for those who are loss within our walls. Here in the West, we have discovered a religion of comfort and ease. What I will call ‘Almost Christianity.’
And we must seek for what Paul called in Acts 26, "Not just almost Christianity, but, altogether Christianity". Paul is speaking to King Agrippa and the court is hearing his defense of the gospel. Has just given an account for his origin, education, occupation, adherence to the law, of his zeal, of his miraculous conversion, and now his apostleship under Christ. And the governor (Festus) seated at this assembly calls him a ‘moron’.
Paul responds by saying to Festus and everyone listening to him, “I am not mad. But speak words of truth and reason.” Paul did not merely place his salvation upon his origin, education, occupation, adherence to the law, or, his zeal, miraculous conversion, or even his apostleship from Christ. Paul needed a conversion because of these things!
When Paul is done speaking, Agrippa simply says to him, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” How could a mad man (a moron) bring the king to the point of repentance? And Paul says to him, “I would to God that not only you, but everyone listening, would become both ALMOST AND ALTOGETHER.” Not halfway. Not partly. And not somewhat. But, whole.
People don't want 'almost':
• Parents don’t send their kids to daycare that is Almost Safe
• You don’t date a boyfriend who is Almost Virgin
• People don’t buy a car that Almost Works
• A successful company isn’t Almost Profitable
• You don’t win the game if you Almost Scored
• You cannot be valedictorian if you Almost Got An A
• You won’t be excited in a boring church service if the speaker is Almost Done
• And, our main point today is simply, you cannot be an Almost Christian
Almost Christianity IS MORE THAN AN OXYMORON, IT IS MORONIC. Literally. In Acts 26 while Paul is speaking, the governor interrupts him and calls him mad. Literally he told Paul he was in a frenzy (mania was the greek word). The ironic part of this is that the person who was mad was the governor. He was mad for being Almost. So, to be Almost is what a moron does.
I believe that we have a crisis in the church today. That we are serving a God we do not know. Ask for God to awaken the American church. Almost isn't good enough for Paul, and it's not good enough for us.